"Drafting and signing Mark Appel was a top priority for our organization this year," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a press release. "We are an organization focused on winning championships in the future and we expect Mark to be a big part of that effort."
Appel was 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and four complete games in his senior season at Stanford. He struck out 130 batters in 106 1/3 innings and posted a .203 opponents' batting average. He finished his college career as Stanford's all-time strikeout leader (372).
"Mark has been one of the premier talents in college baseball for the past few years, and he cemented that status this spring with his best season yet," Astros director of amateur scouting Mike Elias said. "He possesses a bulldog mentality, an ideal pitcher’s frame, an elite track record, and he commands three-plus pitches -- everything we look for in a pitcher. We feel the potential is there for him to become a mainstay at the very forefront of our rotation for a long time."
Franco, 20, dominated at high Class A Clearwater, where he hit .299/.349/.576 with 16 home runs in just 65 games. With the Phillies lacking an obvious long-term third baseman -- Michael Young is 36 years old and on an expiring contract -- Franco's stock will be worth watching closely as the Phillies look to fill the hot corner.
"We constantly look at things with guys with really good arms like Jake," Showalter said, per The Baltimore Sun. "If he gets the ball down, he’s effective. How do you do it? Is it delivery? Is it a mentality? We’ve talked about all those things and we will continue. Let him get there. I know he’s going to start his next outing and at some point we will probably step back and see where we are with it. I want to get him back on good ground."
"I’m not ready to do that just yet," Leyland said, per the Detroit Free Press. "If someone doesn’t get going, then you either play (Tuiasosopo) a little bit more or do something else, and I’m not talking about anyone in particular. That’s a situation with any player."
Franklin's batting average has gone from .250 to .296 during his recent seven-game surge.
Nava is batting .297 (19 for 64) with three doubles, eight walks, 12 RBI and 13 runs in 16 June games.